Tyrone, New Mexico, United States
Certified Gold through 2022
Riparian Habitat Management
Wetlands & Water Bodies
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Management
Increasing Awareness Around Reclamation
Awareness & Community Engagement
About the Program
Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Tyrone program in Grant County, New Mexico, consists of a mining and agricultural lands in the watershed of the Gila River, where the team manages 1,500 acres of riparian habitat for the benefit of local wildlife species. The program incorporates a long-term study of the southwestern willow flycatcher's presence and documents population trends at the site. In addition to the habitat work, the company has engaged with the local community to educate young people about the mining process, reclamation and how targeted efforts are providing a conservation impact.
Practices and Impacts
- The team has managed riparian land since 1994 to expand and enhance habitat for riparian-obligate species of concern, including the southwestern willow flycatcher, an endangered bird species that relies on this habitat to survive. To manage its riparian corridor, the team entered into a partnership the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Management has included increased irrigation of the site, which along with the canals and ditches that return the water to the Gila River, has stimulated the expansion of the Gila River riparian habitat corridor, especially along irrigation ditches.
- The team also simultaneously ceased clearing woody vegetation from ditch banks, allowing the development of a network of wooded riparian strips. These management practices expanded riparian habitat for a number of species of concern.
- Grazing of pastures on the property is restricted to the winter and spring months to protect the vegetation that provides shelter, nesting sites and invertebrate foraging for southwestern willow flycatchers, and grazing is limited to ensure that utilization levels of forage are moderate.
- The team works with Western New Mexico University to monitor southwestern flycatcher territories annually, and takes habitat photos around six fixed points on an annual basis. While annual survey results have fluctuated over the years, the general population trend has been relatively stable with the 22-year mean of 150 territories and 250-300 individual birds.
- To introduce students to how mine reclamation can be used to create wildlife habitat, the team at Tyrone have provided 19 tours and presentations to over 600 members of the public from April 2017 to September 2019. These tours provide an opportunity for the team to show how reclaimed habitats can be managed to maximize their utility to wildlife.
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